WHY BANKS AREN’T LENDING: THE SILENT LIQUIDITY SQUEEZE

Saturday, July 16, 2011
By Paul Martin

by Ellen Brown
WebOfDebt.com
July 15, 2011

Why aren’t banks lending to local businesses? The Fed’s decision to pay interest on $1.6 trillion in “excess” reserves is a chief suspect.
Where did all the jobs go? Small and medium-sized businesses are the major source of new job creation, and they are not hiring. Startup businesses, which contribute a fifth of the nation’s new jobs, often can’t even get off the ground. Why?
In a June 30 article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Smaller Businesses Seeking Loans Still Come Up Empty,” Emily Maltby reported that business owners rank access to capital as the most important issue facing them today; and only 17% of smaller businesses said they were able to land needed bank financing. Businesses have to pay for workers and materials before they can get paid for the products they produce, and for that they need bank credit; but they are reporting that their credit lines are being cut. They are being pushed instead into credit card accounts that average 16 percent interest, more than double the rate of the average business loan. It is one of many changes in banking trends that have been very lucrative for Wall Street banks but are killing local businesses.
Why banks aren’t lending is a matter of debate, but the Fed’s decision to pay interest on bank reserves is high on the list of suspects. Bruce Bartlett, writing in the Fiscal Times in July 2010, observed:

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